Porto is a special place.
Don’t just take my word for it; ask the Romans. They gave it its name (derived from the Latin Portus Cale), and placed it right in the middle of their province there.
It’s even how Portugal got its name.
But what of this city, with its handsome streets, spectacular views and mouth-watering bakery treats?
Also known as Invicta (Invincible City), here are a few handy tips for anyone planning a trip there.
Station São Bento
Now, I’m not one to exaggerate but this is the most interesting train station I’ve ever seen.
If the beautiful Parisian exterior isn’t enough for you, then the 20,000 decorative tiles inside will blow you away.
It took the artist Jorge Colaço over a decade to complete this stunning tapestry. You’ll see various events from Portuguese history depicted here, all in its distinctive blue and white form.
Careful you don’t miss that train, though.
Tip: Take one of the Free Tours to get a full description of this masterpiece. It’s well worth it.
Ponte Dom Luis I
What do Porto and Paris have in common? Apart from beginning with ‘P’, of course.
Give up? Well, they both boast monuments worked on by Gustav Eiffel.
When you cross Ponte Dom Luis, Eiffel’s contribution to Portugal, you’ll see that his bridge has some of the most spectacular views in the country.
Tip: Look out for the Old Man mural on the city side of the bridge. It’s in honour of an elderly gentleman who used to sit in the same spot every day, watching people cross the bridge.
This isn’t for the fainthearted. Picture this:
- Five layers of bread
- Lots of meat (sausage, ham, roast steak)
- Melted cheese
- A smothering of beer and tomato sauce
- A layer of French fries
La Francesinha. It might sound like Frankenstein; probably ’cause it’s a monster. Order it if you dare.
Tip: If, somehow, the above isn’t enough, some places offer a fried egg on top. O Golfinho, in Porto’s downtown, is one such place.
OK, you knew it was coming; but you can’t go to Porto and not try the famous wine.
Here are three statements about Porto wine but only one is true; can you guess which one?
1. It gets its delicious taste from the Douro Valley, the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
2. Every bottle of Port has a special seal to prove its quality and authenticity.
3. Its sweetness makes it the perfect companion to a dessert.
Alright, I cheated. They’re all true.
Which is all the more reason why sampling a glass of this famous drink is something you have to do when you visit Porto.
Tip: Want a view with your drink? Visit Espaço Porto Cruz which offers access to a 360º terrace, as well as chocolate and cheese tastings.
So, as you can see, Porto is a city with a lot to offer. Visiting there has never been easier, so what are you waiting for?